I'm really scared

Insomnia Forum Insomnia Help I'm really scared

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Martin Reed 2 days, 13 hours ago.

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  • #53448

    ✘ Not a client

    I have been suffering with insomnia for months now.
    I’m running on so little sleep that it really scares me.
    I don’t know why I can’t sleep.
    I just looked up what can happen if you go too long without sleep and I am absolutely terrified.
    I read that it can cause brain damage, hallucinations and organ failure and that some insomnia can cause death.
    I fear that some of these things may be happening to me or that they will happen because I just can’t sleep.
    I’m afraid I am going to die from this.
    I don’t know what else to write at the moment. I’m very scared and I just want to sleep so badly but even now I don’t feel like I can sleep.
    I’m really scared and am fearing and expecting the worse to happen to me.


    ✓ Client

    Hello Kyle!

    Welcome to this forum and sorry to hear about your struggles. What you are going through is very common. As a recovered person, I am telling you up-front that sleep or lack of it has nothing to do with your health. It’s all entirely concocted by your brain to try to protect you but unfortunately, it’s wrong advice. And it’s misguided, erroneous info that you somehow bought into.

    The biological process of sleep is very similar to eating and breathing. To your body, they are no different. The question really is can you accidentally starve yourself of sleep to death or into having the terrible health consequences that you described. In a similar way, you could ask yourself if you can accidentally starve yourself of oxygen or nourishment to death. The answer is unequivocally no because you will instinctively eat when hungry or breathe when you hold your breath long enough. Your body does all this for you. The act of going to bed is similar to putting food in your mouth or inhaling. These are all natural instinctive behaviors that requires no conscious intervention. The ability to sleep is an innate and inherent nature in all of us. Just like the ability to eat or breathe.

    That said, so what can you do to get your sleep on track? Frankly, it’s really quite easy. Just set a time to get into and out of bed. That’s it. If your sleeping hours are out of whack due to horrendous sleep anxiety, by doing this, your body will get used to the schedule and it will respond accordingly.

    Understand there are two distinct issues here. First is the actual insomnia, this is quite easy to fix, just by having a regular sleep schedule. The other is entirely psychological, or the mental aspect of insomnia and the scary thoughts and behaviors behind it. They both may seem interconnected but are really independent. Your ability to sleep is not affected by thoughts and likewise, anxiety doesn’t cause insomnia, in a strict sense. Tackling the mental aspect will be a huge part of the effort to get over insomnia. Your brain will repeatedly try to warn you about the dangers of not sleeping. Try to cultivate yourself into convincing yourself that this is all just noise. The general remedy is to not run away or escape from anxiety but to welcome and anticipate it and see what it is really all about. Over time, you will start getting desensitized because nothing remotely as bad or horrendous is really happening at all. Towards the end of your recovery, you start realizing it’s all just a set of thoughts and how you relate to them. You then get into a much better position to handle insomnia when it happens and it will no longer bother you that much.

    Also try not to struggle when waking up during the night and being okay with night time wakefulness. If you have further questions, reach out to us here and we will try to help you. Good luck and best wishes!


    Helen B
    ✘ Not a client

    I sympathise with the original poster here as it is very scary when you read about the long term impact of chronic insomnia. The support of recovered insomniacs on this forum can be helpful but I do get a bit irritated by the way people say getting over insomnia is easy, I’m finding it not the case.

    Mentally I have learnt to disregard and stop thinking and worrying about the long term effects and how I will cope with little sleep. This has worked to a certain extent as I’m no longer fixating on them like I used to and I did see improvement in my sleep because of this. But it’s so up and down. After doing well for a couple of weeks, I’ve now started back with a vengeance my old pattern of barely getting 2 hours a night. Now my body has learned this behaviour over a couple of nights, it’s stuck back in the pattern and it’s like I’ve got to start all over again…


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi folks, I think we are all on the same page here. Well, maybe different chapters on any given day, but the same book….

    True, eventually your body will just fall asleep. You cannot force yourself to stay awake any more than you can force yourself not to breathe.

    Also true, anxiety about whether you will sleep makes it harder to sleep.

    And also true, it can be an up and down thing. It’s not like you break a bone, it takes a defined time to heal, then it’s healed, problem over.

    When I hit a down period, I sometimes freak out for a while. Eventually, I remember what I have learned and can observe, “I am having the thought that >>>>I am sinking back into insomnia and that I am never going to get over this, etc.” And then I will think damn, how did I forget that part about prefacing my thoughts with “I’m having the thought that…..”

    And then I give myself a break and remember that I forgot because I have been so hammered with not sleeping.

    The good news is that over time, I seem to recall all of this after a few nights instead of several months.

    I hope this helps. It can be a bear, but things can get better, even if it gets kind of choppy sometimes.


    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    @helen B — moving past insomnia is very rarely easy and often involves a lot of challenge, setback, difficulty, and struggle. That is why it’s so important that we be kind to ourselves while on this journey!

    Fortunately, even though there’s a lot of confusing messaging out there, there’s actually no evidence that chronic insomnia *causes* any health condition whatsoever.

    The content of this post is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It is not medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, disorder, or medical condition. It should never replace any advice given to you by your physician or any other licensed healthcare provider. Insomnia Coach LLC offers coaching services only and does not provide therapy, counseling, medical advice, or medical treatment. All content is provided “as is” and without warranties, either express or implied.
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